Monday 20 Aug 2018 | 03:49 | SYDNEY
Monday 20 Aug 2018 | 03:49 | SYDNEY

These Olympics just keep on giving


Michael Fullilove


19 May 2008 10:14

The torch relay of the Beijing Olympics is generating surprises, both for Western public opinion and the men of the Zhongnanhai.

First, on the international portion of the relay, protestors of different stripes (pro-Tibetan independence, anti-Pyongyang, etc) drew the world's attention to the regime's frailties and reduced the balance of its much-vaunted soft power. Then, as I argue in today's Financial Times, the passionate and occasionally violent nature of the counter-demonstrations by overseas Chinese shone a light on the nationalism of elements of the Chinese diaspora living within the West. The third development came after the relay moved to China's home turf — supposedly safe ground. The refusal of Olympic organisers to countenance changes to the protocols or the route of the relay to honour the victims of the Sichuan earthquake led to a wave of anger from Chinese bloggers and internet users. This appears to have caused an about-face on the part of Beijing.

Let's see what other surprises these Olympics hold for students of international relations.